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Saturday, October 25, 2014


by George Held

Image source: I am a Liberian not a virus

African nation created by and for freed American slaves in 1820;
name derived from “liberty”

The stout ebony man in the navy pinstriped suit
And steel-rim specs and white hair and goatee
Speaks into the mike of the lone news station
To cover his presser. His voice is strong, his speech
Articulate, with a faint African lilt. He just wants
To say that he is a Liberian, a West African,
And a healthy man; he is not ebola, he does not
Have ebola. Please do not stigmatize me
Or other West Africans or Liberians as though                        
We are a virus. We are human beings.

What he leaves for his American audience
To think is that he is a despised black man,
He is a cursed West African, a Typhoon Mary
Of a Liberian trying to excuse his type of danger
To our spacious skies, that he should be deported
From our fruited plains, our purple waves of disdain;
O say, can’t you see the fearful American faces,
The hateful American resentment that wants him
Gone from our midst? O God, bless America
And preserve its totally deserved purity.

George Held, a regular contributor to The New Verse News, has a new book out from Poets Wear Prada, Culling: New & Selected Nature Poems.